Half the Sugar, All the Love: with author Jennifer Tyler Lee

February 2020 – We all know that kids love sugar. But studies show children today consume at least three times the recommended daily limit. With all this sugar lurking, how can a parent avoid it and still make quick, low-sugar meals kids will love? Nutritionist and author Jennifer Tyler Lee joined us to discuss her new book Half the Sugar, All the Love. The book will help you debunk the sugar myth and avoid added sugar.

We love the recipes in this book — alternatives to sugary classics like brownies (sweetened with sweet potatoes!), salad dressings (sweetened with pear!), and breakfast bars (sweetened with dates!). Each recipe is rigorously tested, kid-friendly, and delicious. Here is one of our favorite recipes from the book:





Crispy, chewy, crunchy, and tender—this colorful autumnal salad has a variety of textures to keep things interesting. The combination of farro, pumpkin seeds, and Parmesan cheese provides plenty of savory flavor as well as protein—without meat. Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing brings it all together with less than half the sugar of a store-bought dressing. This salad can be easily doubled.



½ cup farro
⅛ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1 cup diced, peeled butternut squash (cut in ½-inch pieces)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (page 194)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
3 ounces lacinato kale, ribs removed, leaves very thinly sliced (about 3½ loosely packed cups)
4 ounces Brussels sprouts (6 to 8 sprouts), root ends trimmed, very thinly sliced (about 1¼ cups)
¼ cup roasted salted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese


1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2 Place the farro in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Transfer the farro to a small saucepan with 1A cups water and R teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Return the farro to the strainer to drain any excess water. Spread the farro on a plate and let it cool completely.

3 Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the butternut squash on top. Drizzle the squash with the oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss gently until the pieces are evenly coated. Roast the squash until lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes, stirring the squash halfway through cooking. Let the squash cool completely.

4 To assemble each salad, pour 2 tablespoons dressing into the bottom of a wide-neck quart-size Mason jar. Add half of the farro, followed by half of the squash, 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds, half of the kale, half of the Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat with another wide-neck quart-size Mason jar and the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5 To serve, empty the contents of the jar into a bowl and toss well; serve immediately.
Note: If serving this recipe as a side salad at home, place all the prepared ingredients except for the cheese in a large serving bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.

Kids can help assemble the jars.

Make Ahead
Prep and assemble all the components, including the dressing, up to 2 days ahead of time and store in the jars in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go lunch.

Nutrition Information (1 main dish serving):
Calories: 457 | Added sugar: ¼ teaspoon or 1g | Carbohydrates: 68g | Sodium: 634mg | Saturated fat: 5% of calories or 3g | Fiber: 15g | Protein: 16g


Excerpted from Half the Sugar, All the Love by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH. Photographs by Erin Scott. Workman Publishing ©2019.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is a nutritionist, a self-trained home cook, and a mom to two teens. Her innovative and delicious low-sugar recipes show that quitting sugar doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love–the trick is to sweeten them naturally with fruits and vegetables instead of added sugar. Jennifer’s first family cookbook, The 52 New Foods Challenge, was nominated for an IACP Cookbook Award.